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Odd Girl Out
Ann Bannon
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Odd Girl Out (Beebo Brinker #1)

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  1,495 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
In the 1950s, Ann Bannon broke through the shame and isolation typically portrayed in lesbian pulps, offering instead women characters who embraced their sexuality.
With Odd Girl Out, Bannon introduces Laura Landon, whose love affair with her college roommate Beth launched the lesbian pulp fiction genre.
Published August 1st 1975 by Beaufort Books (first published 1957)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,849)
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I love this book. Even though it was published before even my mother was born, this book impacted my life in a way that I can't put into words adequately. I was seventeen years old, queer and miserable and living in an extremely rural and insular area, and I felt that I was the only girl in the world who was attracted to other girls. This was pre-internet, of course. I knew that there were men who were attracted to men (my best friend was one of them), but I had never (knowingly) met a woman att ...more
Nov 07, 2011 Mfred rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review was written for The Lesbrary.

Laura goes off to college and meets Beth. Beth inspires in her a frenzied, frightening passion, which she can barely contain. Beth, in her loneliness, is drawn to Laura’s worship of her. They start an affair. Until Beth meets Charlie, and finally falls in love.

This is basically the plot of Ann Bannon’s Odd Girl Out and on this cursory, superficial level, I sort of enjoyed it. It’s not the best written story I have ever read, and in particular, I found the
Nov 07, 2007 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, fiction
While this book is historically significant as one of the pulp novels of the 1950's and is interesting from that perspective, that doesn't necessarily make it a great read. The characters are kind of shallow and caricaturish but I guess that's representative of the genre.

I wouldn't recommend it for someone looking strictly for good entertainment, but if you want to get some insight to what lesbians in the 1950's went through to find any representations of themselves in literature, then take a lo
Jul 15, 2009 bup rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking to broaden their coverage of lesbian pulp fiction
Shelves: 2008, novel
My coverage of seminal trashy lesbian pulp fiction is woefully lacking. I realized that when I was researching the etymology of "butch," wondering if it could possibly have come from the character "Butch" in the classic board game "Go to the Head of the Class," because, if so, wouldn't that be the greatest thing ever? In my research, next thing I knew, I was reading the Wikipedia biography of Ann Bannon, who wrote some of the best seminal trashy lesbian pulp fiction of all time in her series of ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Odd Girl Out, by Ann Bannon, narrated by Kate Rudd, produced by Cleis Press, downloaded from

This is the first book in the Beebo Brinker series, written in the 1950’s by a 22-year-old Philadelphia housewife who wrote about what it would be like to be experimenting with sexual freedom in a sorority in 1957. This was the beginning of the genre of lesbian pulp fiction, and this book in particular has been re-published several times since then and has remained a best seller. Even today,
Karli (Typographical Era)
With this novel, Ann Bannon unknowingly launched the lesbian pulp movement in America. Odd Girl Out became the first in the Beebo Brinker Chronicles, a series of 6 novels featuring Laura Landon and a host of other nontraditional literary characters. Odd Girl Out is surprisingly subdued considering the cultural shock waves its publication initiated. But when the world is reading things like the 50 Shades trilogy, a kiss on the lips between two women is nothing to bat an eye at. But it's importan ...more
Once upon a time, lesbian pulp fiction was just about the only place where gay women could read about themselves. Written in the 1950s, these novels had to pass a morality test, i.e., there really was no happily ever after ending for two women in love. Thankfully, lesbian fiction has come such a long way since then! More women than ever are writing their own stories: romance, sci-fi, historical--you name it. But I will always be grateful to the trailblazers like Ann Bannon, who wrote these stori ...more
Melynda Burt
A fun capture of period culture. We've come (out) a long way!
I found this book by accident after my daughter was born. Odd Girl Out, is a gay book written in the fifty's. Because of its time there are no dirty, perverted, or graphic sense. Instead it is a innocent, school girl, love story. If you have ever been curious why the same sex is attracted to each other this is a good insightful, innocent read that explains the ways of a human heart.

I actually emailed the author who is by now in her late 60's. She wrote me back and told me a bit about herself.
Sep 11, 2012 Bandit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting portrayal of what it was like to be a woman and a lesbian back in the 1950s. We have come quite a long way on some respects since then. This book reads better and is better than most pulp fiction, very melodramatic, but one must remember that the characters in it are very young. Good writing, very strong compelling characters. Ann Bannon really did something revolutionary for the time in trying to create realistic portrayals instead of pulpy cheap caricatures. Recommended.
Although this is a classic in 1950's pulp fiction, it reads a bit like a dramatic young adult coming of age story. Love! Deception! Breaking the Rules! It is light on trashiness and high on melodrama. It is worth reading for the social perspective. I wonder if everyone really called each other 'Darling" in the fifties? Hmmm. Still, the ending manages to wrap the story up in a way that is both satisfying and socially conscious.
Sarah Crawford
Jan 29, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the pulp novels, originally published in 1957, which were written by Ann O'Bannon. They were quite a sensation when they originally appeared, and there are several novels featuring similar characters.

Laura is the main character in this novel. She's lesbian, and has a mild case of SIV (Self-Inflicted-Violence.) She falls for a girl named Beth.

Laura is accepted into a sorority. Emily is also in the sorority. The main focus of the entire book is Laura's relationship with Beth, and ho
Jul 01, 2008 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightfully trashy. it indulged my as of yet superficial fascination with the ways sexuality was negotiated historically.... in the campiest way possible.
Kit Fox
Nov 29, 2007 Kit Fox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can't stop reading that classic lesbian pulp fiction. Pretty impressive for a pulp yarn written by a 21-year-old suburban housewife.
Jun 19, 2008 Tammy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
wonder what life would have been had ann bannon been lying around the house in place of the harlequins my sister so enjoyed.
Jul 14, 2014 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I recall - even though the book ends "well" with no one committing suicide or dying (per the traditional fate of gay characters in pulp fiction those days) I wasn't happy with the book's tone and drear. So much turmoil over feelings and obsession I was in a funk for days. I reminded myself, this was the common motif when this was published, even in movies and more mainstream books. A cultural landmark of a book with believable characters (albeit not ones I would befriend if I was in the pages ...more
Roger Bailey
Mar 29, 2016 Roger Bailey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Bannon is my favourite Lesbian pulp writer. Her characters are just so full of emotion and even though it was written in the 50s it reminds me a lot of my own experiences growing up and coming out. Odd girl out was the first book she wrote and it was the last one of hers that I needed to read. It was really strange to read the first story about Laura and Beth having seen them in later books having grown so much. As such I think I found them a little less interesting than I probably should ha ...more
Jan 13, 2009 Kiwi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a random pick-out from the (tiny) LGB fiction section of B&N. I thought, well, I'll go with a historical book.

At first I was drawn to Beth, one of the main characters. I thought Laura, the other, was very childish. I soon realised she acted so primarily for Beth, who was the one truly lacking in integrity and an ability to communicate or be honest even with herself. It took the final scene to get me to like the characters again.

However, it was an interesting look at historical life
Pulp fiction from the fifties could be ad adequate subtitles. It's quite difficult to read this book from Europe some fifty years later and understand its success and impact on the female youth of the period.

The plot of the novel is quite simple. Laura landon is a simple, shy and quite unexperienced girl who arrives at college just after her parents diverce. She's lonely and emotionally fragile, she meets an older and apparently decise, volitive and socially successful girl (Beth) and joins the
Apr 09, 2011 Marja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anvita Nair
Feb 08, 2016 Anvita Nair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was great to read. While slow at times, the insight into the 1950s queer community made it worthwhile. Bannon managed to make the story of Laura and Beth wholly engrossing, so that even the minor characters caught my attention and drew my interest.

Laura's progression throughout the novel was what peaked my interest the most. Although it was slightly rushed towards the interest, the way Bannon wrote Laura's acceptance of herself was inspired. Definitely would recommend this book.
i can't remember why i didn't finish this. i think i read a spoiler and didn't want to read the ending anymore? I liked Laura and Beth for the most part, but Beth and Charlie's relationship bored and annoyed me.
Jes Marie
May 05, 2015 Jes Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is literally what a lesbian soap opera would appear. It has a lay out like a lot of LGBT movies do as well. Fascinating to read about what gay culture was like in the 50s and how it was viewed
Jan 29, 2012 Derek rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To me, what was far more shocking than the central love triangle is Charlie's behavior towards the women of the story. He had a habit of using his physical presence--a combination of assertiveness and strength--as a means to compel the women to follow him or to stay with him. In today's world this sort of behavior would be a quick road to a harassment charge.

Second to this is the assumed road map for all the women at college: vaguely working for some liberal arts degree, with college itself as a
Jan 27, 2016 Ari rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
When all is said and done, this is a book with queer characters in the 50s. That's outstanding. However, like all queer lit that I've read thus far, it was rather cheesy. That being said, I do think it's very hard to get at the emotions around coming out and falling in love for the first time without being cheesy. So I'm trying to be more understanding of that. Regardless, I did find the cheese factor of this book hard to swallow, and really it left a lot to be desired for proud queer literature ...more
Johnnie Terry
This is an interesting read...not for the story line but as an historical text. Originally appearing the 50s, the story line, word selection, and tone reflect the values and social power structures of the time while "pushing the limits," again, for the time. From the perspective of 2009, the sorority regulations requiring Emmy to stop seeing Bud because her behavior has been deemed too risque serve to shock the reader...the lesbian romance is noncontroversial. The dialog is sappy and melodramati ...more
A Dave
Dec 05, 2014 A Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For being a '50s lesbian pulp novel what could you expect. I loved the drama of it all though!
Jun 16, 2016 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting read. Didn't care much for the ending or the overall message.
Nov 16, 2013 Morgan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this Odd Girl Out 3 stars but the novel is a reminder how futile rating books from 1-5 can be. The characters are all unlikeable at one point or another, they are irrational and frustrating...but aren't people?! I'm glad I read the book, there were times when I wondered if I was wasting my time and my feelings towards it went back and forth as much as the movement of love between the characters. However, very simply put, the novel acts as a reminder of the past, and even to present by sho ...more
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Ann Bannon (pseudonym of Ann Weldy) is an American author and academic. She is known for her lesbian pulp novels, which comprise The Beebo Brinker Chronicles and earned her the title "Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction."

Bannon was featured in the documentaries Before Stonewall (1984) and Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives (1992)
More about Ann Bannon...

Other Books in the Series

Beebo Brinker (6 books)
  • Beebo Brinker
  • I Am a Woman
  • Women in the Shadows
  • Journey to a Woman
  • The Marriage

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